Grassroots Tennis Autumn Classis Tournament a Success


Girls Varsity finalists and champions, Frankie Garofola, Avery Wolfe, Nicole Marcante, and Melissa Baretta

On Oct. 2 the Norwalk Grassroots Tennis organization held its fourth annual Autumn Classic tournament. According to Melissa Beretta ’14, chairperson of the event, 114 players, organized in 57 teams, participated in the event, the highest number of participants in the tournament’s history.

Beretta, who also plays on the Staples varsity tennis team, says that Grassroots Tennis is a program that allows children from the Norwalk projects to receive both tennis and educational instruction free of charge. As of this year the organization has been running for 16 years.

“Many of the kids from the program grow up to teach the younger children and serve as role models for them in order to show them that they can be so much more than what their home, family, or money situation predicts,” she said.

This year’s event was a huge financial success for the organization. According to Beretta, over $30,000 was raised from the tournament, another all-time high for the Autumn Classic.

These funds, which allow this non-profit, volunteer-based organization to function, were raised through a combination of a $75 entry fee per player, sponsorships from multiple business such as the Darien Rowayton Bank, and a silent auction for the parents of the participants.

High school players from 12 different high schools in Fairfield County were invited to participate in the tournament. Those who played in the event were organized into one of four divisions: girls varsity, boys varsity, girls junior varsity or boys junior varsity.

Beretta says that Norwalk Grassroots Tennis has many different volunteer opportunities available for anyone who wants to get involved.

“From teaching tennis, to doing arts and crafts, to tutoring kids while they aren’t playing, Norwalk Grassroots Tennis has a place where everyone can help out,” Beretta said. “And anyone who has ever volunteered there will agree when I say that talking to the kids in the program always will reassure you that you indeed are changing a child’s life.”

For more information about this organization, visit